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APN Statement on Israeli Raid on Gaza Aid Flotilla

APN Deeply Dismayed by Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla

Washington, DC -  Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply dismayed at the tragic results of Israel's interception of the international Gaza aid flotilla today and calls on Israel to thoroughly investigate the operation and to reassess its policy toward the Gaza Strip.

APN mourns the loss of life on board the Marmara, and wishes full recovery to the injured, both IDF soldiers and the international activists.

APN joins its Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, in expressing outrage at the way Israel's government is dealing with people who challenge its policies. APN strongly supports Peace Now activists who are demonstrating today in Tel Aviv against their government's policies.

Commenting on the Gaza ship disaster, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "The details of the operation in the Mediterranean are still not clear. Regardless, the outcome of this operation is unacceptable and the policy that led to it is deeply flawed. Clearly, IDF soldiers have the right to defend themselves, but this mission was, from the outset, terribly flawed. The fact that Israel finds itself in this difficult situation today underscores the extent to which Israel's continued policy of blockading Gaza in untenable and increasingly indefensible. APN has consistently opposed the siege on Gaza. It believes this policy does not serve Israel's interests."

DeLee added: "It is becoming increasingly common for Israeli officials and pundits to refer to challenges to its policy as 'terrorism' - we hear terms like 'economic terrorism' used to describe a Palestinian Authority effort to boycott products made in Israeli settlements, 'popular terror' to describe non-violent protest, and 'cultural terror' to describe pressure on international artists to cancel appearances in Israel. This past week we heard terms like 'violent propaganda' to describe the Gaza flotilla, even before any clash between its participants and the IDF. Such language cheapens the debate and undermines Israel's legitimate position when it acts in genuine self-defense. It also makes almost inevitable the kind of tragedy that is unfolding today."

Earlier today, Peace Now stated, "This morning Israel marked a new low point in the way it chose to contend with its domestic and external policy dissidents. Israeli society as a whole is responsible for the grim results of the IDF takeover of the protest ships. This radicalization of Israeli society is yielding its fruit."

APN joins Peace Now in calling for an end to the radicalization of the Israeli government's language and policy. As Peace Now said, "[we] watch with despair as Israel with its own actions justifies the brutal and violent image it acquired in the last years. If the miserable naval clash had any winners, they are in Tehran, in the bunkers of Beirut and in the Hamas headquarters in Gaza..."

Americans for Peace Now is the nation's leading Jewish organization advocating for Israeli-Palestinian peace.